Mom's house is paid off but Medicaid is trying to take or put lien on it? What can I do?

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My mother was killed in car accident. She lived in her house for 48 years. I do is there a time limit anybody out there please help.

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So sorry to hear of your loss.
Unfortunately your question is a bit to vague to answer.
Please elaborate:
1. Was your mother receiving Medicaid benefits for long-term care?
2. Did her husband?
3. What state do you live in?
4. Do you live in the home currently?
5. Have you lived in the home for the past two years and were you taking care of your mother?
6. How is the house titled?
Answering these questions will help me to help you.
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I don't understand why a lien Shouldn't be filed. Why should all of the rest of us taxpayers pay for someone's health care through Medicaid and then have the survivors still get their inheritance of the house. Medicaid isn't Socialized Medicine. Also, I don't think a lien is enforced until the house is sold. So if a spouse or other family member is living there, they can probably continue to do so. It's my understanding that the lien just sits there and waits until the property is sold. Just call me Scrooge.
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A little known fact is that the state will try to recoup as much of their expenses as possible. The only thing that will stop it is if a son/daughter/brother/sister/spouse is going to be living in the house - but even then, when the house is eventually sold, the state will be there waiting for their cut.
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There is an appeals process. Read the paperwork carefully and file an appeal if family members are living there.
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Venus - OK there are probably 2 different scenarios for what is happening:

1. if mom was in an accident and IF MediCARE (MediCARE not MedicAID) paid for any of her hospitalization, doctors or other health related costs THEN any $ your mom may have gotten from a settlement (like from a lawsuit) is subject to the Medicare Secondary Payer Act. The Act went into law (it is a PL - a public law & federally enforceable) maybe 2 years ago and requires that recovery be done for anything that Medicare paid for and that later on the victim got paid for (like from a lawsuit or insurance settlement). If you don't, then Medicare can file a claim or get a judgement against you to recover for the costs Medicare paid. There really doesn't seem to be an appeals process for this other than to settle the claim by the $ amount paid (equal matching too). The claim would need to be settled by mom's estate which has her home as an asset of the estate which can be sold to do this.

possibility 2. - mom was on both MediCARE (because she was over 66) and also on MedicAID (because she qualified as low income). Now whatever Medicare paid for her health care costs was all a part of the the usual Medicare paid for expenses. Like her visits to see a doc or get her flu shot. These are usual Medicare benefits, she does not have to repay for these benefits. BUT if mom was also on Medicaid for long term care (like in a NH) or for other extend benefit Medicare paid for programs (like STAIR or PACE), then the state (the states run the Medicaid programs) is required to try to do a recovery for any & all costs the state program paid for her since MERP was enacted in your state (this would have been done in 2005 or 2006 for all states). MERP enforcement ability is done by placing either a claim or a lien on any asset they may have after death in their estate & this is done through MERP - Medicaid Estate Recovery Program. Usually the only asset, the have is their home which can have the claim or lien placed on it. Whether it's a claim or a lien will depend on how your state laws for death, probate & property rights. Like for TX, MERP's claim is a Class 7 claim for probate, so all other claims in Class 1 - 6 have to be paid first & foremost before MERP Class 7 is paid. Other states are an equal level of claim for probate. You need to find out what the situation is like for Colorado.

So how did you find out about this? Did you get a letter from MERP - then you need to carefully read what is required by the letter (Notice to File Inquiry Letter)? OR is the situation that you went to sell mom's house; or try to get the title changed; or get a loan on the house your inherited and found out that you can't as there is a claim for a pretty huge amount on it so you are totally flummoxed as to what to do? This is a whole different situation & more complex. Which one is it?

Not that this helps, but what seems to be happening now with MERP is that many states are turning the process over to outside contractors (there are 2 main contractors for this - HMS & PCG). They are now going back to get recovery from estates that may be from the last couple of years too.
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As I understand it MERP is Medicaid only. Medicaid is a safety net program. It's not intended for someone who has assets to pay the bills. MERP is another example of the importance of estate planning regardless of how small the estate. There is an unfortunate taboo surrounding talking about death that leaves many families shocked when things like MERP kick in. this taboo also surrounds talking about living wills or advanced directives. I hope this changes because the process of talking about something that is bound I happen can bring families closer together. I hope you find a solution to your problem and get a good outcome.
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You talk about "the State" as if it were a completely independent entity. It's not...it's us, the the taxpayers. The "state" won't be there "waiting for their cut"....we will be there wanting our money back if there are assets available. We took care of the mother when she was in need and now that she's not, we want our money back just like any other lender. In a case like this if someone has assets, we have a right to them, up to the extent we took care of her when she was in need.
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Ralph S. Robbins, CFP©, is a licensed Certified Financial Planning Practitioner and an Accredited VA Claims Agent specializing in Eldercare Financial Planning. He works everyday helping families in crisis find creative ways to fund long-term care expenses and deal with family financial issues.


So sorry to hear of your loss.
Unfortunately your question is a bit to vague to answer.
Please elaborate:
1. Was your mother receiving Medicaid benefits for long-term care?
2. Did her husband?
3. What state do you live in?
4. Do you live in the home currently?
5. Have you lived in the home for the past two years and were you taking care of your mother?
6. How is the house titled?
Answering these questions will help others to help you.
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@ShirleyB I am fully aware of that, I use "the State" for simplicity. But you know something? "The State" does act as if it is a separate entity and I don't think they've ever actually gives anything back to the taxpayers. Even the Social Security COLAs are for "the State" because the elderly do not get to keep them. There are always increased costs to the elderly as a result of COLAs.
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